Eternal city: Augusta Treverorum – Trier

October 19, 2012

View of the cathedral and the vineyards towards Olewig

I just left my beloved Trier behind me. Now I am in Berlin, the capital of the Federal Republic which is far to the east from my native land. From Trier it is easier to reach Paris than Berlin. And the Mosel river comes from France before forming the frontier between Luxemburg and Germany.

It is a splendid town, small and beautiful. Traces of the Roman empire can be found everywhere. Come and visit.

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Winery of the Year 2012 – The German Champions

October 12, 2012

In the last week of September three of my favourite German wineries were honoured by the Wine & Spirits Magazine, and included in the top 100 list of the best wineries of the world in 2012.

The three wineries are the following:

1. Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel, Mosel
The winery has been in the Loosen family for more than 200 years. Ernst Loosen took over in 1988, and, as they say, the rest is history. Dr. Loosen is maybe one of the best known German vintners in the international wine scene. I was so happy when Barrique, my local wine shop in Healesville, Victoria was carrying Dr. Loosen wines.

Address:
Winery Dr. Loosen,
St. Johannishof
54470 Bernkastel, Mosel
Tel.: +49-6531-3426
info@drloosen.com
www.drloosen.com

2. C. von Schubert, Mertesdorf, Ruwer, Mosel
This winery has also a long tradition. The “Grünhaus”, as the estate is also known, was already mentioned in ancient documents in 966 when it belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier.

Carl von Schubert, the current owner-operator, belongs to the fifth generation of the von Schubert family. The estate produces outstanding wines and was awarded many national and international prices. I tasted some of the Maximin Grünhäuser 2011 vintage dry Riesling wines during our summer vacation

Address:
Dr. Carl von Schubert
Hauptstr. 1
54318 Mertesdorf
Tel.:+49-651-5111
Fax: +49-651-52122
info@vonschubert.de
www.vonschubert.com

3. Robert Weil, Kiedrich, Rheingau
The winery was set-up in 1875. The founder was the university professor Robert Weil who taught German at the Sorbonne in Paris. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 forced him to return to his native Germany. He settled down in Kiedrich, Rheingau and extended his vineyards and laid the foundation for today’s estate. In 2010 I found some bottles of the Robert Weil 2008 vintage in a Bangkok wine shop. Delicious.

Address:
Winery Robert Weil
Mühlberg 5
65399 Kiedrich, Rheingau
Tel.: +49-6123 2308
Fax: +49-6123 1546
info(at)weingut-robert-weil.com
www.weingut-robert-weil.com


The Mosel river

October 10, 2012

The Mosel river near Schweich

I am rapping things up here in Bangkok. Only two more days to go. Friday night I will be on the midnight flight to Germany. After about 11 hours on the plane, I will land in Frankfurt early in the morning. I might have a coffee and breakfast at the train station.

Then I will catch a train to Tier, my home town to see my parents. The train ride will be wonderful regardless of the weather. Autumn might extend its magic with colourful leaves in red, brown and yellow.

First, my trip will lead me along the Rhine river, then I’ll change trains in Koblenz. The next leg of the journey will be along the Mosel river. Some of the views will be spectacular.

I will admire the vineyards of both valleys, the Rhine and the Mosel. On the hilltops will be castles here and there. The slopes are steep, and I will think of all the hard work the vintners put into their vineyards. How can one work these terrible steep slopes? Backbreaking work, done for generations.

Vineyards and wine production have been a feature of the place for more than 2.000 years, incredible. I will have only about 24 hours there before I will move on for a business trip to Berlin.

Saturday night I will patronize my favourite wine bar, Weinsinnig. It will be my cellar door so to speak since I plan to pick up a few bottles of my favourite Mosel wines. There will be certainly a crisp Riesling among them.

I very much look forward to going home.


“Great food, crap wine”!

October 9, 2012

Delicious seafood soup

When a little boy, my Australian nephew Nick, had written in a guest book “great place, crap food”. I was reminded of this great line the other day when we tried to enjoy a wonderful Jamie Oliver seafood dish with a mass produced, cheap industrial wine. We adapted this seafood soup from Los Angeles to accommodate Thai conditions.

Yellow tail SB from Australia and New Zealand

We knew what we were in for. I was not surprised that this wine by yellow tail was of low quality. The Shiraz from the same series, I would call “very drinkable”. The Sauvignon Blanc is also “drinkable”, however, I would omit the word “very”. Anyway.

But a good thing happened nonetheless, and that was the big surprise for me. Because of the high quality of the food, the wine was, shall I say “augmented” beyond belief. It became quite drinkable.

Yellow tail Sauvignon Blanc

The bottle does not carry a production or vintage year. The blend is an Australian & New Zealand one, with grapes coming from both places. I do not know if the producer is doing himself a favour with this kind of wine. The fact that it is on the market is proof that there is demand, and therefore there should be supply.

After all, it was my choice to have this wine with the seafood soup.

Cheers


Leone Catani – Two litre bottles of Nero d’Avola from Sicily

October 7, 2012

Leone Catani – Nero d’Avola

Well, how should I say it? I cannot afford for every day drinking the wine on offer in 0.7 bottles any longer. Wine prices in Thailand are just too high.

Instead, we have taken to some cheap stuff. I know, that ‘life is too short to drink cheap wine’. However, some of the cheap stuff is actually quite drinkable.

The above wine is one of them, easily available in any super-market in Bangkok. Value for money, so to say, and in a two litre bottle. I feel like in the good old student days.

It is not worth to try to identify the producer or the location. No, just enjoy a drop of red for “the time in between”, I would like to call it.

Cheers from Bangkok.


Thai cooking

October 4, 2012

I am in the North of Thailand right now. To be pricise, Chiang Mai, the former capital city of the Lanna Thai kingdom. I will use my spare time after work to explore the local cuisine.

What you see above is my Thai cooking certificate which was given to me after the successful completion of a Thai cooking class in Hua Hin last year. I guess I forgot what I have learned; my inate nature is not the one of the cook. I am more of a gourmet; the one who enjoys the eating rather than the preparation of food.


German wine tradition: the wine queen and wine princess

October 2, 2012

German wine tradition

I do not think that Australia has already embarked on this path, but Germany certainly has a long tradition of wine queens and wine princesses (since about the 1930s).

The German wine queen is the elected representative of German wine for the duration of one year. The candidates are the 13 regionally elected wine queens from the officially recognized 13 wine regions.

It is tradition that the new wine queen will be crowned in Neustadt, Pfalz. The 64th German wine queen is Julia Bertram from the Ahr win region. She was inaugurated on September 29.

The German wine princesses (allowed are up to three) are the deputies of the German wine queen. Usually the runner-up in the election is appointed wine princess. Currently there are two, Anna Hochdörffer, Pfalz, and Natalie Henninger, Baden.

The electoral college consists of about 70 members. I could neither find out how the selection committee is composed nor how these jury members are selected, though. From the 13 regional wine queens, normally six are nominated as finalists for the contest. The jury elects one as queen and two as her princesses. Of the 64 queens, 11 came from my native Mosel.

The candidates do not need to come from a winery or vineyard but need solid knowledge about German wine and the wine industry, oenology and wine-making. The wine queen and the princesses are representing the wine industry for a year at all major wine festival, fairs, exhibitions, wine tastings, including international events. They need to be eloquent and good ambassadors for the German wine industry.